How to Efficiently Manage Inventory Across Multiple Sales Channels

December 29, 2015 - 4 minutes read

The Problem

As your business grows, so should the variety of places in which you sell your products. Let’s say you’ve developed state-of-the-art ski boots. You might start by selling your boots through a small brick and mortar store, but as people find out just how great your product is and demand for your boots grows, you branch out and begin selling through your company website, eBay and Amazon. All of the sudden, trying to keep track of your customers and inventory has become really complicated. How do you make it easier so that you can efficiently scale your business?

At first, you turn to out-of-the-box desktop software. Forcing your systems to work together in a hodge-podge fashion does the trick at first, but as your business gets larger, so does your need for an efficient inventory and order management system. What happens when your stores don’t talk to each other? If all of your available size 8 boots sell on Amazon and you still have them listed for sale on eBay, you have a problem.

Your challenge is not unique. A recent eCommerce Bytes poll received more comments about the challenges of inventory management than any other concern. When each of your sales channels can’t easily communicate with one another, the end result is often lost revenue. So, what to do?


How Not To Solve the Problem

When putting together an inventory management system, there are several things that you should avoid doing. Here are some common mistakes that people make as they attempt to solve the inventory management problem:

  • They create homegrown systems that require manually updating multiple programs throughout the day. This might work well in the short term, but as your business grows, the time and effort necessary to keep your systems synced will quickly drain your resources.
  • They track orders, customer data and inventory on spreadsheets. Using a spreadsheet to manage large amounts of data is not only overwhelming but it’s not scalable. It’s also not real time and version control is often difficult which can lead to lost orders and unhappy customers.
  • They often ignore the problem all together, leading to lack of growth and productivity. Continuing to rely on systems that your business has outgrown makes growing your business very difficult.
  • They wait too long to address the problem. The longer you wait, the more complex the transition becomes when you do decide to upgrade your systems. Undoing years of poor inventory management is much more difficult than undoing a few months of mismanagement.

The Solution

You understand that if your POS system communicated with all of your online sales channels, your business would run smoother. Ninety-two percent of online retailers are struggling with their online/offline sales channel integration and realize there are better ways they should be managing them.

The good news is there are many solutions available, including utilizing a specialized POS, inventory and order management software solution like Agiliron.

Tags: , ,